E3 2015: Kickin’ it with Street Fighter V

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One of the games I was most excited for during E3 was none other than the next saga in Capcom’s signature fighting game, Street Fighter V. The series has persevered for close to 30 years now, and the series having only five major titles speaks volume about the longevity of each entry. With the newest one on the horizon for next year, Capcom had demos out in full force for attendees to try out the new titles and characters.

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My initial thoughts from the original trailers made it seem like a slower-paced game than Street Fighter IV. Moves seemed much more deliberate and committed. Yet, my first taste of the game was anything but that.

The demo at E3 featured six characters: Ryu, Chun-Li, Nash, Bison, and newly announced at E3, Birdie and Cammy. Hoping to test how my fundamentals would fare in a brand new game, I hunkered down on to Ryu and took him for a spin.

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Instantly, my hands felt right at home as I executed many of Ryu’s arsenal of moves with familiar finesse. All of my training from previous titles translated well into the new game with little delay. The fighting felt natural, yet fresh thanks to the new systems introduced. Focus Attacks are no longer in the game and in its place are character-specific moves called V-skills. V-skills are activated by pressing Medium Punch and Kick at the same time. It’s a new dynamic added into the game that’ll grant players new tools and utility to combat with. Each one ranges from Ryu’s parry that harkens back to the Thrid Strike era or Birdie’s drink that grants him V-trigger meter. I’m excited to see how players utilize it into their repertoire.

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Another system gone from SFIV is the Ultra Combo. I was never a fan of the ultra combo system thanks to its sheer influence on matches. This “comeback” mechanic often allowed a player to equalize matches in one go, often dictating the flow of games. Capcom replaces it with the cleverly named V-trigger. Instead of a single powerful attack, by pressing hard punch and kicks together, V-trigger augments a character with extra damage and modifies their existing special moves in deadlier versions. While it does rewards a player for taking hits, it still forces the losing player to think harder about their game plan.

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The new Versus screen gets updated with some sleek clean modern design.

Last but not least are V-reversals. While you are still blocking, by inputting all three punches or kicks, your character will counterattack and push them away, giving you much needed room to breath. Doing this will consume half your V-trigger gauge, and Street Fighter Alpha players may take the system as a nod to the Alpha counterHow effective this will be used in the competitive scene remains to be seen. Observing the matches at the Capcom booth, I saw almost no one using it to regain their footing. It could be simply a matter of players not realizing it exists or that offense is simply much stronger this time around. Overall, damage in the game has gone up allowing games to end quicker, forcing players to make fewer mistakes. Even the cheap chip victory is removed to allow players on the brink of death one last chance to redeem themselves.

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There’s a lot to like right now in the newest Street Fighter, and even after E3 ended, I found myself thinking about new ways to string together combos and formulate my game plan until the next time. At the moment some characters are extremely powerful (see Cammy), but Capcom is still balancing the movesets which hopes everyone will find their specific niche.

Street Fighter V is aiming for a 2016 release with a beta program starting next month for players who preorder the game on either PC or PS4. Either way, SFV is shaping to becoming another hit in the making.

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